27 March 2006


My friend Birdman writes a music column for the small central Alabama town where he directs their middle school band. I enjoy reading it, but it sometimes makes me pine for the days when I had my own weekly newspaper column.

I began the column when a weekly community paper (The Pike County Citizen) started publishing, in late October of 1995. I named it THE DISC-CLAIMER. My then-wife was the paper's Editor. I even continued the column after our divorce in 1997, and got a big kick out of telling people that my ex-wife edited my column! THE DISC-CLAIMER ended in July 2000, when I moved to Savannah, Ga. At the same time Josiebelle finally landed a teaching job and was able to leave the newspaper bidness behind. The newspaper closed down as we both left the building.

The column was a blast. And I miss it. I don't miss Troy, Alabama, but I truly miss having that foot-and-a-half's worth of column inches each week. This blog is nice, but it's not the same.

Anyway, in Birdman's latest article, he tells of how Spring cleaning has spurred on some deep thoughts about some of his record collection. He goes on to pass along some vital stats on the best-selling music in the history of chartmaking.

It was an eye-opener to see that Bing Crosby's magnificent "White Christmas" was eclipsed by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" -- the uber-tacky remake of his 1973 album cut in memory of Princess Diana. Now I couldn't care less about Whiny Di or her clock-stopping, polo-loving, Camilla-porkin' king-wannabe husband. I don't give a thousand rats' hemorroids about the so-called Royal Family across the pond, and, frankly, think it's a relic way overdue to be put to sleep along with the Queen Herself.

Ahem, I digress.

Yes, Elton wrote the song. Yes, Elton has the right to do what he pleases with what he himself wrote. Yes, even cover his own stuff.

But I still think it's tacky. Tacky, tacky, TACKY!

And Elton sold more copies of that reckid than B-B-B-BING's "White Christmas"????

I need an Alka-Seltzer. On the rocks.

Whooookay, he continues with some more hit singles that've sold over five million copies:

* HOUND DOG/DON'T BE CRUEL / Elvis Presley (1956)
* I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU / Whitney Houston (1992)
* MACARENA / Los Del Rio (1996)
* WHOOP! (THERE IT IS) / The Tag Team (1995)
* WE ARE THE WORLD / USA For Africa (1985)
* HEY JUDE / The Beatles (1968)

Out of the above seven songs, only THREE (3) don't give me, at best, extreme acid reflux, and, at worst, homicidal urges. Just guess which three.

This proves P.T. Barnum's theory to the "T" in his name!

Dolly Parton's 1982 original of "I Will Always Love You" gave me gastric tics enough as it was; Whitney's version was like hearing Josiebelle singing one of her damned Contemporary Christian soundtrack songs. (my luck, someone will cover "Face To Faith" as a mainstream pop single just to get my goat.....)

Macarena? Bad acid!! I remember a regional Jaycees meeting where a couple of guests taught us all how to do the Macarena. Thank God for a short memory when I needed it the most.

"We Are the World" sounds like a damned PSA for starving Ethiopian chirren. I'm surprised Sally Struthers didn't make an appearance.

And "Whoop! (There It Is)" deserves no further comment.

"Hey Jude" was a monumental single in that it broke past the three-minute taboo ... waaay past it. What's worse is, the same year another song did the same thing -- and was several seconds' LONGER than "Jude." Thaaaaat's right, my good people, it was English actor Richard Harris' unforgettable (damn!) rendition of Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park."

Dammit, Paul, why didn't you hold that "jud-eh-jud-eh-jud-eh-OWWWW!! WOWWWWW!" a few seconds longer??!!??!!

To quote Dave Thomas as Richard Harris (God bless SCTV for taking that song apart), "Somebody get me a bloody TOWEL!!!"


Ahhhhhh, but Birdman also talked about ALBUMS.

I remember the day well, the day The Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 outsold Jacko's 1982 Thriller album. It was a Thursday, and I had my weekly classic rock show -- you know damned well I celebrated; a lot of Eagles songs got played that night!!!

The Eagles have sold 29 million copies of TGH .... Thriller is two million behind at 27. Not anything to sneeze at, but I can rest easy that Michael "Thank Heaven For Little Boys, For They Are Soft And Cuddly To Sleep With" Jackson ain't gonna be topping that one anytime soon.

#3? Pink Floyd. But not The Dark Side of the Moon, as you might think. Nope, try The Wall. Ooooh, memories of 9th grade. Not the best of times, but I latched onto that album tightly. 25 million copies there. That's a lot of bricks. Anyone up for buying 2,000,001 more copies of The Wall? Anyone? Anyone?

#4 belongs to Led Zeppelin "Untitled", or, as it's popularly known, "Led Zeppelin IV." It's the album with "Stairway to Heaven" on it.

#5 is occupied by AC/DC's 1980 album Back in Black. (Well, hell's bells..........)

and #6 is Billy Joel's 1985 greatest hits double-disc set. (That's one CD Josiebelle took in the divorce that I've had no urge to replace ... I have something better: all the '70s BJ albums)

But even the '80s Billy Joel -- yes, even "Leave a Tender Moment Alone" -- is far preferable to what follows.

As the list continues past Billy, the teeth become loose, you begin feeling amorous for your cousin, and suddenly you have a desire to trade in your Honda Civic for a '72 Ford F-150 pickup.

#7: Shania Twain's Come On Over. (Man, I feel like another "Alka-Seltzer")

#8: Garth Brooks' Double Live. (Damn! I'd almost forgotten he existed)

I'm afraid to go any further, or else I'll be dumping Seraphim for my second cousin who is beginning to look very sexy to me. I'd like to ask her out to Golden Corral so I can gum a medium-well sirloin.

The only hitch is whether my POS Ford pickup will make it to Florida........

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "I'm fresh out of Skoal. Woman, go over to the Enmark and get me some more!" Gleck

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